Chris Horner’s Vuelta a España celebrations lasted just a few hours. Shortly after ascending the podium in Madrid having become the oldest winner of a Grand Tour in history, a city-wide search for the RadioShack rider by doping authorities Monday failed to locate the 41-year-old.
Two days previously, the American Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had asked its Spanish counterpart to take blood and urine samples due to suspicions raised by the cyclist’s biological passport. However, when anti-doping agents from the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport (AEPSAD) arrived at RadioShack’s hotel in Madrid, Horner was nowhere to be found. Neither could his teammates or manager provide the right answer.
A team doctor said that Horner was in a different hotel closer to the airport with his wife, but the AEPSAD agents left the second hotel empty-handed. RadioShack said that Horner had provided his location to USADA and presented a screenshot of a confirmation email: “Hello. The Vuelta finished today, September 15, in Madrid, and I will fly back to my home in Bend, Oregon on the 16th. I will be staying at the Hotel Ciudad de Móstoles, room 314. I will be locatable there between six and seven in the morning.”
It was not possible for USADA or Spanish doping authorities to test Horner during the Vuelta, as in-race controls are the remit of the International Cycling Union. It remains to be seen whether USADA will attempt to track the cyclist down on his return to the USA.